Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
45 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 12-04-2000

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Muddy, ruddy, dark chocolate brown with orangish brown accents. The small, dark gold cap is thick, hearty and creamy, but enters the atmosphere more quickly than I had hoped. I see no lace at present; perhaps it'll make an appearance when more of the glass is available. Ultimately there's a thick cap and a short collar.

I've tasted the various OSAs far enough apart that aroma and flavor memories are sketchy at best. This nose smells a little better than the others for some reason. It certainly has plenty of power, a characteristic that I noted (with pleasure) when I cracked the cap. I can appreciate roasted malt, cocoa powder and indeterminate spice. Even though it's almost 5 years old, this one doesn't smell as stale as the '98 and '99, if memory serves.

I do believe that the '00 is spicier than previous iterations, but that isn't to say that it's better. No matter how many variations on this theme I drink, something about this recipe fails to grab me. The flavor profile consists of powdered dark chocolate, creme de cocoa (mild ethanol note), pine boughs and spices that were added with too heavy a hand.

Pine needles and spices last the longest, although the finish can't be said to be lingering. While the mouthfeel isn't bad, it's a little too thin for a Christmas Ale/Winter Warmer, at least as I think of those styles. Perky carbonation helps to provide some measure of mouth interest.

The 26th Christmas Ale (so sayeth the cap) isn't a whole lot different than the 24th, the 25th or the 29th. It does seem to have a greater spice load, although the mists of time may be obscuring things more than a little. Unless Anchor Brewing decides to break the mold and do something drastically different, the OSAs, at least as far as I'm concerned, will continue to be drinkable, but rather underwhelming.

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Photo of palma
2.87/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sampled 5-19-2005.
Dark brown almost black body. Basically no head develops.
Aroma consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, grapes, plums, licorice, and cloves.
Sharp sour/acidic flavor up front. Not very enticing. Then an immediate coffee flavor. Reminds me of day-old instant coffee.
It was a struggle to finish the 12 ounces.
I have a feeling this will probably be one of the last decent reviews you'll see for the 2000 vintage. It's on its last leg.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2000 bottling from the cellar.
Mahogany hue with a decent tan head. Strong smell of burnt caramel, orange peel, cloves. Medium bodied with light carbonation. A slight oxidized smell does not detract. Earthy, woody, lightly toasted malt taste with spice flavors that echo the smell.
A smooth, subtle malt beverage here.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost black brew with an off white cap of foam.
The aroma is a bit plain as it is one sided and all i can smell are some sweet malt and a touch of spice.
The flavor is pretty rich and it has a strange bitterness to the malt background of sweet dark caramel malt and roasted malt. The spice seems to be the main bittering agent in this one and it changes the balance of the flavor a little too much.
The body has a velvety feel to it as the low carbonation and the residual sugar contribute to a very nice smoothness.
Very drinkable in the winter time, especially december.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage - I can't find much info on the tree used in this one other then it is something fairly common to California and is a type of cedar "Torreya californica", or the common name "California Nutmeg"

Color is dark brown ruby reddish, hint of a thin cap appears very briefly. A very small collar remains and minimal lacing sticks and is tan in nature.

Aroma is quite nice on this one, even after a bit of age, solid woodish pine needle with strong ginger notes, caramel candy sweetness, and touches of nutmeg.

Flavors don't bring out much of the woodyness flaunting about in the aroma but what there is a nice diplay of dark caramel candy sweetness and ginger-like spice. Nutmeg notes and cocoa dust the back end as it finishes warmer then the 2001, 2003, & 2004 which are all being enjoyed within a small vertical tasting. The pine wood is there in trace amount among some of the spice, but the sweetness of this one really keeps a nearly barleywine-like twist over a porter. Quite nice but not so to like any more then the other vintages.

Feel is amazingly smooth and slick, favorable medium body, with a light airyness about its finish. Spicy, warming, and delightful. A sipper with a sweeter edge then other OSA's I've encountered, aged or otherwise. Still damn good and very enjoyable. A for sure keeper to have around for the holidays and other wintery things.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage reviewed August 2004 from Max's in Baltimore. I was quite pleased to find this on the bottle list at Max's, and at a relatively reasonable $6 for something that they've been holding on to for awhile. Pours a deep brown with a small fluffy head. Aroma is heavy on the "christmas spices". Taste... yum. As my girlfriend says "Like a fireplace at Christmas Time". That's exactly what it is. Warming, wonderfully spicy, with hints of ginger, allspice, plums, brown sugar, cinnamon with a smooth finish. Nice, full body. I'm glad I just scored two magnums of the 2003 for $10 a pop!

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Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep dark brown color with a 1/2" tan head. Some light lacing developed. The aroma was bold as evergreen and spice jumped out of the glass. The flavor was more spicey than more recent years. The roasted malt, evergreen tones, allpsice, nutmeg, and other spices created a bold flavor for a beer that should have mellowed after four years. The alcohol is noticeable and produces a warming effect that other higher alcohol beers don't do for me.
The mouthfeel is smooth and the aftertaste is dominated by the evergreen and spice. The drinkability is down a notch as this is a wonderful brew, but this is a slow sipping brew.

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Photo of bditty187
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown hue, influences of crimson and hints of copper, the beige head reached a glorious two fingers in height. The retention was excellent, it slowly faded, and the subsequent lacing was fantastic. As I expected, OSA ’00 is a damn fine looking beer! The nose is lovely, pine needles, ginger, coriander, spruce, candy sweetness, and nutmeg. Underneath is a noticeable maltiness, I haven’t noticed the malt this well in any of the other vintages I’ve tried, it is very nice. The palate has the standard pine influences, nutmeg, and ginger. Add in notes of melon, fig, wood, and chocolate. On the back of the tongue was a vague slick fruitiness like a Jolly Rancher. How cool is that? The complexities are great, I am guessing it has mellowed a bit but the flavors have blended wonderfully. I can’t say any of flavors stand out or steals the show; there is some alcohol warmth in the belly. It is very relaxing. The carbonation is rather low but the bulk in the body is present, medium/medium-full in size, the mouthfeel is still respectable, if not a touch slick. California torreya is the tree of choice; also know as “stinking nutmeg,” hell yeah! I am very pleased with this offering. It is plenty drinkable and I’d love to quaff it again. I am very grateful to Jables for hooking me up! Find some. Drink some. Cellar some. If you own some, you’re a lucky bastard. This is yet another OSA masterpiece by Anchor.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark dark brown -- almost black with a nice creamy brown head and good carbonation. Primarily a black licorice aroma with Sprucey notes. NIce balanced licorice-spruce flavor. Medium-full bodied (leans full) with a sweetish licorice finish.

Label states: "26th Christmas Ale" & "Torreya Californica"

Code: ON94
Tasted: 12/29/03

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Photo of Weissenheimer
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pint comes with the medium-sized head that I'm coming to know well. It has that toasted, foamy, melted-marshmallowy look that says "Anchor OSA". The beer itself has a dark, brooding, not-quite-opaque ruby appearance which reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. My reaction to the smell is the same as it was when I sniffed the 2002: "Nice and spicy". It's mild and caramely.

The head lends this beer a lot of creaminess, and this leads into a strong coffee taste. I'm definitely tasting some of the molasses flavor of the 2002, but in this case it takes a back seat to the coffee. Also like the 2002, as I pay close attention to that coffee flavor I realize that it's actually halfway between coffee and raw black tea. The coffee is way too much for me, especially since it actually seems to get stronger as I drain the glass. I won't be having any more from 2000, although that reaction arises from my personal taste more than from the beer.

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Photo of Jables
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on my birthday Dec. 5, 2003

Pours a cloudy deep mahogany. Nice creamy head.

Aroma is sweet piney malts with some nice caramel notes.

The taste is smooth, smooth, smooth. A perfect balance of caramel and hops with piney flavors present throughout. The piney flavors are nice and subdued unlike the current edition of this brew. Flavor is perfect for this night with the first snow of the season. Does finish up with a nice subtle warming by alcohol.

Not a session beer by any means but the balance is exceptional. I have 4 more bottles to save till my next birthday.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stuff was much better than the 2002 version that I last tried. This is still a dark brown beer with a biege head and some nice aromas of spices, trees, and booze. This aged version is less tree-like in flavor and more barley-wine like. The mouthfeel seems thicker and the drinkability is definately better than the 2002 as well.

Nice stuff!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2000 Vintage: Tried Aug, 03
Dark opaque brown color. Lots of protein/ particulates had settled to the bottom of the bottle. Smells of burnt caramel, molasses, bitter herbs, slightly woody and a hint of smokiness too. Tastes lightly sweet, with a hint of oxidation, but this mixes quite well with the burnt caramel notes of the beer. Not as sharply spicy tasting as when I last tried this beer about 6 months ago (or when it was young). Very good still, in fact better than when it was fresh. Quite smooth with a brown malt taste. Tastes more like molasses than anything. Overall this is not nearly as sharp and objectionable as when it was new, the sharp bitter herbal taste is now in balance with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, medium head. Spicy aroma (piney, touch of spruce??) Roasted malts, nutmeg-ish. Full flavor, very complex. Interesting taste. Need to taste again after some bottle aging. Finish is a little harsh. Aftertaste is malty, slightly burnt malts. As usual this beer mellows with age.

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Photo of aaronh
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a robust, dense tan head that displays excellent retention for a 2 year old beer. Color appears to be a deep red chestnut hue. Almost stout-like in appearance, but presenting a hint of red color. The aroma is amazing. There is a noticable clove and nutmeg spiciness, paired with a raisin sweetness. Woody notes are also present, along with hints of chocolate and roasted malt. The taste is immediately nutty, bringing hazelnut and walnut to the foreground. Chocolate flavors are strong, as well a a great smokiness on the finish. The hops are are reserved but enjoyable. As I continue to sip, the flavor seems to change with the temperature, with hints of the following flavors appearing, then subsiding: black pepper, pine, alcohol, lightly sweet chocolate with a hint of plum, sweet cream (wow this was a nice taste that jumped in!), smoky cheddar?, and then the bitterness starts getting stronger, with more piney notes. This progression occurred over the period of about an hour. Once the bitterness started popping in, I finished it up quickly. Very minimal sweetness comes through on the flavor, much less than I anticipated. The mouthfeel is very solid, but has a definite astringency. While this beer is enjoyable, I would not drink a large number of them, nor could I drink it quickly due to the apparently high ABV. However, its unique charcteristics and wild array of flavors make this an enjoyable experience. Anchor Our Special Ale is becoming one of my favorite things about winter.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the first thing i did was smell this beer and feel immediately in love; the smell called to me to bring the beer to my lips similiar to a woman scented it an exsquisite perfume. The taste that i experienced from that first sip was similiar to a beautiful woman, full of many qualtities that came together in a exciting harmony. The smell is spicy, i noted some almost apple like scents. The taste is very complex but drinkable. No single taste property over powers the others. Again herbs and spices are notable in the base of what is almost like a heavy porter minus the chocolate and coffee properties. I can almost taste a feeling of winter with chestnuts, pine trees, and fallen oak leafs with each sip. Pours very little head but leaves a steady lace that is not all that thick. Very interesting beer, thoroughly enjoyable...I could see this paired very well with a shot of jagermeister for that extra kick of christmas cheer.
Will definetly try to get ahold of some 02's for this Christmas season.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This long-aged beauty pours with a long lasting tan head. Settles into a slightly murky brown, with red hightlights. Nose is musty, spicy. Gently carbonated mouthfeel, with diminished spiciness...maltiness is more emphasized, hoppiness is still present, slightly dry on the finish. Still a pleasure to drink!

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Photo of BKotch
4.84/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I laid down a six-pack of this in December 2000 and my only regret is that I didn't lay down more. A year's ageing has really mellowed and smoothed out the originally sharp flavors of pine/spruce, nutmeg and bitter chocolate. Still looks great, but the head has lost a little fluffiness and retention. Effervescence is also down, but, ohhh, the nose and palate . . . This beer demands a cold night and a fireplace. I hope the 2001 version lays down as well.

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Photo of Brent
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Very nicely done. Spicy hops was well balanced.

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Photo of Jason
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown fatty bottle with a freshness code of 0NB2 meaning November, 2 2000 I guess.

Appearance: Dark brown near black with a beige coloured lace that has great retetion.

Smell: Fresh baked gingered apple pie with caramel topping. Sweet to the nose ...

Taste: Smooth creamy mouthfeel, good flowing carbonation. Semi chewy mouth feel with quite a malty palate of sweet grain and chocolate undertones. Right away the mild evergreen like flavour kicks in and lingers wide and far with a sweet oily taste. The chocolate malt flavour punches though and flexes a bit to show this is still a beer. Alcohol is noticeable and warms the body. Residual chocolate / roasted malt flavours wrap up the finish.

Notes: This is Anchor's 26th Special Ale that is spiced with Torreya californica, more commonly know as California Nutmeg or the stinking cedar. Not a brew I would want to quaff down though it is a beer I would love to end the night with. Roughly $10 a six pack, savour this brew all winter long.

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Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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